In advance of the upcoming Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards on Thursday (May 11), Zach Bryan has already picked up the New Male Artist of the Year award, while Hailey Whitters has been named New Female Artist of the Year. This marks the first ACM win for both artists.
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Bryan, a 27-year-old military veteran-turned-country singer, beat out fellow nominees Dylan Scott, Nate Smith, Bailey Zimmerman, ERNEST, and Jackson Dean for the Best New Artist award. The Oklahoma native’s most impressive collection of songs is centered around his 2022 breakthrough album, American Heartbreak, which features 34 tracks, including No. 1 hit “Something in the Orange,” written entirely by Bryan.
Born in Japan, where his family was deployed in the U.S. Navy, Bryan grew up in Oologah, Oklahoma, and later joined the military branch himself. In between serving active duty in the Navy for seven years, Bryan continued writing songs and began sharing them on YouTube before releasing his debut, DeAnn, in 2019. The album was dedicated to his mother and was followed up with Elisabeth in 2020, which he recorded in a barn near his home.
In 2022, Whitters, 33, also released her third album, Raised, a follow-up to her 2020 breakthrough album The Dream.
Having written songs recorded by Alan Jackson (“The Older I Get”), Martina McBride (“Low All Afternoon,” “The Real Thing”), and Little Big Town (“Happy People”), and her own hit, “Everything She Ain’t,” featured on Raised, Whitters will also be performing on ACM Awards for the first time on May 11.
In addition to Whitters, other scheduled performers at the 2023 ACMs include co-host Dolly Parton, Miranda Lambert, Jo Dee Messina, Jason Aldean, Kane Brown, Luke Combs, Cody Johnson, Ashley McBryde, Jelly Roll, The War And Treaty, Lainey Wilson, Bailey Zimmerman, Cole Swindell, and Keith Urban.
This year, HARDY, Wilson, and Lambert are among the artists with the most nominations for the 2023 ACM Awards. HARDY tops the list with seven nominations, followed by Wilson, who won two ACMs in 2022, and has six nominations this year. Lambert, Swindell, Brown, and Combs follow with five nods each.
For the 2023 ceremony, the ACM Entertainer of the Year category will feature seven nominees, in addition to awards for Songwriter of the Year, which will now be split into two categories: Songwriter of the Year and Artist-Songwriter of the Year. Video of the Year has also been expanded into Visual Media of the Year to include additional formats of visual content.
The 58th Academy of Country Music Awards will be co-hosted by Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks and will broadcast live from the Dallas Cowboys’ practice stadium, The Ford Center, in Frisco, Texas on May 11.
The ACM Awards will stream for the second year on Amazon Prime Video at 8 p.m. ET.